How To Prepare A Divorce Checklist And What To Add

Image: Shutterstock


A divorce checklist is a list of documents and information to be collected and organized to make the divorce less stressful and also save time. The list includes personal papers, financial records, and the paperwork needed to begin the legal proceedings. You may also make better decisions based on the information on the checklist. Read on to know more about the checklist for divorce to simplify the procedure.

Divorce Mediation Checklist

Divorce mediation is a settlement process used by married couples looking for divorce or separation. It happens with mutual understanding and cooperation, with a divorce mediator’s help to make the procedure no-fault. The couple has to submit their documents before beginning the procedure.

Marital documents

  • Marriage certificate copies
  • Trust certificate copies
  • Marital agreement (pre or post) copies
  • Wills made during the marriage

Assets and liability documents

  • Personal information (name, contact address and number, date of marriage, employment details)
  • Information of children (name, date of birth, education, medical concerns)
  • Bank balance statements
  • Asset-related statements including loans, vehicles, property, investments, business ownerships, savings, CD accounts, and anything in the name of any of the spouses
  • Liabilities-related statements including student loan, vehicle loan, credit card, real estate loans, debts, mortgages, or other liabilities in the name of any of the spouses

Income and tax-related documents

  • Income statements for the past six months of both the spouses or pay stubs
  • State and Federal tax returns for the last three years
  • In the case of business, corporate tax statements for the last three years
  • Insurance policy statements of either or both the spouses

Divorce Preparation Checklist/Personal Information Checklist For Divorce

Based on the complexity and nature of divorce, the information or documentation could vary. Here is the basic checklist of documents that you need to have when applying for the divorce. The following information or proofs of both the spouses has to be submitted.

  • Personal information, including name, date of birth, contact address, social security number, and contact numbers
  • State residency proof
  • Employer related information
  • Employment information and statement of salary
  • Place to serve the divorce proceedings
  • Documents related to previous marriage (either or both the spouses)
  • Information related to custody arrangements
  • Information on the children (from previous and current marriage), including name, date of birth, social security number, and other related information.
  • In case a child is getting support, then details regarding the same
  • Health insurance details of children
  • Nuptial agreements (pre and post)
  • Documents of separation
  • Documents of court orders related to visitation, custody, maintenance, restraining order, or anything
  • Proof of expenses (of children and both the spouses)
  • Domestic partnership certificate, if any

Divorce Financial Checklist

Irrespective of the type of divorce, both the spouses have to submit their financial documents when applying for the legal proceedings. The most important documents you need to keep ready include:

Income and tax documents

  • Income tax returns including personal, partnership, joint venture along with state, local, and federal income statements. The documents should include K-1, 1099, W-2 forms of the past five years.
  • Partnership and corporate tax return statements for the last five years
  • Last three months or last financial year statement of both the spouses. The statement should have details related to payroll, including equity incentives, stock options, ESPPs, bonuses, and other income proof of the past five years.
  • Financial statements of both the spouses individually and jointly (if prepared for savings or business entity). Better to have recent to last five years documentation.
  • Employment documents, it could be an offer letter or employment contract
  • Employment benefit summary documentation
  • In case of self-employment, you require a profit and loss statement or financial statement of the last five years, credit or loan application submitted in the last five years, buy or sell agreement related to business, appraisal, and tax returns of the last five years.

Assets and liabilities documents

  • Statements of saving accounts, joint accounts, deposit accounts, and credit accounts
  • Bank statements of accounts in the name of children
  • Safety box or cash in hand has to be noted
  • Life insurance policies with details of the amount insured, name, beneficiary name, date, loan, or cash value. The proof should be submitted. The same goes for disability policies and auto insurance policies.
  • Pension and retirement account statement that mentions the calculation of pension monthly or yearly.
  • Copies of all bonds, secured notes, mutual funds, investments, stocks, liquid and non-liquid investment details.
  • Statements of unsecured notes, accounts receivable, annuities, IRAs, profit sharing, and deferred compensation.
  • All the relevant documentation with respect to businesses and partnerships, including statements or information about the assets and debts.
  • Stock purchase statements including ESPP and ESOP
  • Agreements related to the stock options along with details of all employer stock plans
  • Intellectual property proof related to trademark, patent, royalty, copyright, or similar
  • Statement regarding the early retirement along with the benefits
  • Education or student loan details including balance, interest, schedule of payment, and period of the loan
  • Statement of unsecured loans with details of bank or institution name and loan number
  • Credit card details, credit report, and information related to other debts

Other documents

  • Powers of Attorney
  • Will documents
  • Healthcare directives
  • Certification of Trust
  • Statement of Grant Deed
  • Market value opinions or appraisals related to real property in the last two years
  • Lines of credit or mortgages with details including name, account number, balance, address, and monthly payment
  • Statement of final Escrow, including down payment, price, closing fees, and other details.
  • Information on the rental property along with details of improvements and depreciation
  • Proof of exchange or sale of the residence
  • Details of vacation and rental property

Post-Divorce Checklist

Even after your divorce has ended, there are certain things that you should take into account. Taking care of it will pave the way for your future. Here is the checklist that will help you post the divorce.

  • Set reminders related to alimony
  • Close joint accounts and create new accounts, same goes with credit cards
  • Update your trust or will
  • Create new power of attorney
  • Update all the insurance coverages, be it life insurance, home, or automobile
  • Change the name of beneficiaries in accounts, deeds, and policies
  • Create monetary reserve for emergency
  • Keep a track on the credit score
  • Set up a new filing system
  • Contact your accountant to discuss and plan the investments and taxes

A divorce requires detailed paperwork, so keeping everything in order can make the legal process more organized and fast. Often, couples hire a mediator who helps them sort out the paperwork if the divorce happens with cooperation and understanding. The documents required include marriage certificate copies, bank balance statements, income tax statements, and state residency proofs. Sometimes, the paperwork depends on the type of divorce a couple is undergoing. Nevertheless, it is important to get everything done in time for a smooth divorce procedure.

Key Pointers

  • Preparing a divorce checklist can help make the process easier and hassle-free.
  • Income tax returns, employment information, and personal information documents must be produced.
  • Bank statements, custody information, and other required documents are listed below.

The following two tabs change content below." target="_blank">Dori Shwirtz (Licensed Attorney, Certified Mediator and Divorce Coach)

Shikha Thakur

Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship articles, where she deals with both the rosy and the grey side... more